Lorraine Hems has been toasted by the Society of Wine Educators and named Wine Educator of the Month in April.
Hems, a lecturer in the School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation at Rochester Institute of Technology, was recognized for her extensive educational and community service programming about wines and spirits from around the world.
“I was honored to be chosen for this international acknowledgement after 30 years in the business,” says Hems, a part of the RIT faculty since 2001. “RIT has assisted and encouraged me to travel to wine regions, attend conferences, gain certifications and deliver industry training. This has lead to an increase in course offerings and wonderful opportunities for my students looking to make industry connections.”
Hems, a resident of Irondequoit, N.Y., also provides training programs and classes at the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, as well industry training at wineries throughout the state. She is a certified sommelier—a professional wine steward—and a prominent judge for local and national wine competitions.
Additionally, Hems has organized numerous wine tasting and fundraising events at state wineries. In March, she received a Teddi Award from Camp Good Days and Special Times for her long-time support of the local nonprofit agency for young children with cancer.
“We have alumni around the globe involved in the beverage industry in sales, winemaking, graphics, marketing and more,” says Hems. “How rewarding to have students who took an elective feel my passion, get ‘bit by the wine bug’ and then integrate wine in their future employment. Now people around the world know more about our region and RIT.”